Latest update: 6 August 2021
In the southwestern part of Lake Garda lies the beautiful town of Salò. Salò has a walking boulevard for seemingly endless strolling, many outdoor cafes to test, and a handful of beaches to laze on. It’s an ideal base to discover Lake Garda.
To be fair, there are not that many sights in Salò. The town relies mainly on the relaxed atmosphere. So although Salò does attract tourists, it is not overly touristy. Of course, there are some souvenir shops, and I hear different languages around me. Still, Salò is, above all, a city of the Italians themselves.
The first runners appear on the boulevard early in the morning, interspersed with people walking their dogs. In a back street, I enter a cafe to drink a cappuccino with the Italians, and the local butcher turns out to be the owner of my apartment in Salò. It’s a very small world in Salò.
For me, Salò is primarily a place to spend lazy hours, enjoy the sun, and easily discover the area’s sights.
But let’s start with Salò itself. What to do and which sights should you see?
Take a walk on the boulevard
Salò is clearly a prosperous city. The houses are well maintained, there are plenty of chic shops and a harbor full of beautiful boats. The wide promenade is clean and follows Lake Garda. This is the longest promenade on Lake Garda. If you take an early morning walk, it is wonderfully peaceful and quiet. At the end of the afternoon, it gets busier. People come to stretch their legs and then settle down at an outdoor cafe for an Aperol Spritz.
Shopping in Salò
Salò has a pleasant shopping street for strolling. It’s called Via San Carlo. There are many design shops and chic boutiques. Keep in mind: most shops close between 1 pm and 3.30 pm.
Unique vintage shop on Lake Garda
Garage Rebusco is a unique shop in Salò. It almost looks like a museum. Antiques, junk, vintage: you’ll find it all here. Old records and furniture, drum sets and scooters, but you can also buy wines. It’s a weird mix of everything, and that’s what makes it so cool. So drop by.
Garage Rebusco on Google Maps
Salò’s best beach club
Mokai Beach is on the other side of the harbor of Salò. It’s a bit of a walk, but it’s worth it. There are sunbeds for rent, and chill music plays in the background. On some evenings there is also live music. The terrace is almost always packed. Sangria and beer flow freely at Mokai Beach and for a very reasonable price. You can also order pizza, toasted sandwiches, and snacks.
Mokai Beach on Google Maps
The best cakes in Salò?
I was promised the very best cakes from Salò at Pasticceria Vassalli Salò. It is an enormous place with a large display of cakes – far too much choice. My tart looks delicious, but I’m a little disappointed by the taste. Maybe my expectations were a bit too high, and the sky-high price doesn’t really help either, of course.
Pasticceria Vassali Salò on Google Maps
So if I may recommend a sweet treat in Salò, I’d much rather send you to Gelateria Pasticceria Dolci Idee for a cannoli. Very tasty.
Gelateria Pasticceria Dolci Idee on Google Maps
My favorite time of the day in Italy is aperitivo time. At the end of the afternoon or early evening, you can enjoy an aperitivo at almost any bar and restaurant in Salò. A typical aperitivo drink is an Aperol Spritz.
An aperitivo is a drink combined with light snacks. A kind of warm-up for the evening meal. Although I often skipped dinner after an aperitivo: in some places they serve so many snacks!
The price of a drink might put you off. However, somewhere between 6 and 10 euros is quite average, as you get ‘free’ snacks. Sometimes they serve your snacks at the table, occasionally there is a buffet. Unfortunately, I did not find that in Salò.
Be sure to look for a table on the boulevard so you can watch people and boats pass by
Restaurant Al Cantinone
I had the best meal in Salò at Al Cantinone. In terms of design, the restaurant itself is a bit stuck in the last century, but the atmosphere is excellent outside. You sit between the colored Italian houses, flower beds, and Italian families. The food is authentic and the service correct but friendly and quick. I accidentally bumped into this restaurant and was glad that my stomach was still on Dutch dinner time (early!). Around eight o’clock in the evening, there was not a single table available.
Al Cantinone on Google Maps
Photograph the sunrise
Unfortunately, this side of Lake Garda doesn’t treat you to a beautiful sunset. So let’s try sunrise! Ridiculously early, I went to the lake. While the ducks woke up croaking loudly and the fish frolic at the waterline, I try to find the right camera settings for the moment. So if you want to capture a serene moment on Lake Garda, this is it.
Santa Maria Annunziata: the church of Salò
The Duomo Santa Maria is the largest and most important church on Lake Garda. You can have a look for free. Please note that the church is closed early in the afternoon.
The best trips near Salò
Boat trip on Lake Garda
The most obvious outing in Salò is, of course, a boat trip on Lake Garda. You can easily arrange this at the port. You can either take the ferry to another town on Lake Garda for a few euros. Or take a tour. You can also arrange that on-site or book a boat trip online in advance. Pay attention to where the pick-up point is!
Tremosine sul Garda
Conquer the hairpin bends and winding roads of Tremosine sul Garda. This is a bizarre experience by car because of the narrow roads and the fairytale-like environment. Try a selfie on the 450-meter high horror terrace. People are haggling about the height of the horror terrace, but it is somewhere between 350 and 450 meters high. I stick to 450 meters, because that sounds more impressive. 😉
Check out this autoroute through Tremosine….
46x on the roller coaster in Gardaland
Gardaland is the largest amusement park on Lake Garda. There are cool roller coasters with names like the Raptor, Blue Tornado, and Sequoia Adventure. No roller coasters for the faint of heart, by the way, I regularly leave the roller coaster with unsteady legs. But, of course, there is also a wild water course, all kinds of fairground games, and much more. The queues were not that bad compared to the Dutch Efteling theme park, but maybe I was just lucky.
Not far from Salò is the tourist attraction Sirmione. Although the crowds drive me crazy, I’m still happy to visit it. The location on the water is imposing. My advice: go as early in the morning as possible and then get out of Sirmione asap.
Where to stay in Salò
I’m staying in Salò for five days, and that’s why I choose an apartment. I want a kitchen, and even better, a barbecue! Antiche Rive is perfect for two people. It even has a washing machine. The living room is a bit dark, but we don’t care as we spend most of our time in the communal garden. There is a lovely swimming pool and a seating area for undisturbed evening barbecues. There are only a few other guests, so it’s lovely here.
Antiche Rive is located one street behind the boulevard and near the large supermarket. That’s also where we park our car for free.
Hotels in Salò
In my search, I also came across a few cool hotels that caught my attention. Maybe it’s something for you:
More travel inspiration for Italy
Do you want even more inspiration for your Italy trip? You might like to purchase a travel guide. I recommend the Lonely Planet because it contains a lot of practical information and is also available in separate PDFs or in an e-book version. You can buy it at Amazon or Book Depository, for example. The latter is usually the cheapest.
Some of the links on this site are affiliate links. If you buy something through these links, I might receive a small commission – at no extra costs to you of course!